Excerpt From: Harris, Sam (2004) “The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason.” (New York : W.W. Norton & Co.)

“What if all our knowledge about the world were suddenly to disappear?
Imagine that six billion of us wake up tomorrow morning in a state of utter ignorance and confusion. Our books and computers are still here, but we can’t make heads or tails of their contents. We have even forgotten how to drive our cars and brush our teeth.”

“What knowledge would we want to reclaim first?

Well, there’s that business about growing food and building shelter that we would want to get reacquainted with. We would want to relearn how to use and repair many of our machines. Learning to understand spoken and written language would also be a top priority, given that these skills are necessary for acquiring most others. When in this process of reclaiming our humanity will it be important to know that Jesus was born of a virgin? Or that he was resurrected?”

“How would we relearn these truths, if they are indeed true?

By reading the Bible? Our tour of the shelves will deliver similar pearls from antiquity- like the ‘fact’ that Isis, the goddess of fertility, sports an impressive pair of cow horns. Reading further, we will learn that Thor carries a hammer and that Marduk’s sacred animals are horses, dogs, and a dragon with a forked tongue. Whom shall we give top billing in our resurrected world? Yaweh or Shiva? And when will we want to relearn that premarital sex is a sin? Or that adulteresses should be stoned to death? Or that the soul enters the zygote at the moment of conception? And what will we think of those curious people who begin proclaiming that one of our books is distinct from all others in that it was actually written by the Creator of the universe?”
“The practice of organizing our lives around untestable propositions found in ancient literature-to say nothing of killing and dying for them-would be impossible to justify. What stops us from finding it impossible now?”.

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